Monday, July 19, 2004


Touches of innocence and love on the tube this morning.

First, three suitcases, two tired parents, with one little girl running along the carriage, sprinting up to the door that divides them, where a drunk man holds his head out, out into the dirty, hurtling, cooling air; she wants to open the door, run through it, jump through it, keep on running, sprint the length of the train; her parents call her back, she doesn't care that the drunk man puts his hand on her ear, a friendly tweak, strokes her hair, then collapses back into the seat by him, to hold his red head in his shaking hands; and her parents don't notice, as they call her back, tell her something in Portuguese, perhaps to leave the nice man alone, and definitely to not go near those doors.

Second, the plump man in a suit, reading a book called 253, kindly holding it to his right, so his sullen wife sat there can have a view, her eyes - the crows-feet already at their edges - stare over it blankly, perhaps at the woman sleeping next to me, perhaps thinking back to the past, the day of their marriage maybe, or to the future, their divorce perhaps, and then he points out a passage, it takes a moment for her to realise her attention is required, she skim reads whatever bit he points to, smiles weakly, looks in his eyes, at his beaming grin, and as the train pulls in Holborn, as the heavy doors begin to open, she kisses him on the forehead goodbye, ever so lightly.

A touch of love? A touch of innocence?